Pandemic purchases boost potato sales past 5-year records

Pandemic purchases boost potato sales past 5-year records

Consumers continue to buy more fresh potatoes during the COVID-19 pandemic, boosting sales in most fresh categories and pushing sales of all potato products, including frozen, to five-year records.

The latest retail report from Potatoes USA charts the category’s growth from July through September as consumers continue to spend more at retail and less on food eaten outside of the home. 

“Total store potato sales increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019,” according to a Potatoes USA news release. “These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years.”

The sales and volume information comes from Chicago research firm IRI.

The fresh category saw growth in numerous categories in the three-month period:

  • Overall fresh sales are up 16.4% in terms of dollars, and 10.6% in volume, despite retail price increases;
  • Medley, petite and yellow purchases had volume increases of more than 20%;
  • Five-pound bags still lead as the most-popular size, but 10-pound bags saw the largest increases, with 22% higher dollar sales and 20.4% volume increase; and
  • Bags larger than 10 pounds grew in dollar sales, but were the only category to fall in volume sales, at about 9%.

Frozen potatoes had the largest growth from the same three-month period in 2019, with almost 24% higher sales in dollars and 20% higher volumes. Deli sides is the only category at retail that declined compared to 2019, but the decline had slowed compared to the previous three-month period, according to the IRI numbers from Potatoes USA.

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